GRIZZLY BEAR hits Milwaukee June 8th and Chicago’s Pitchfork Festival July 19th, days after TORTOISE opens the festivities. PHOENIX plays Chicago June 13th; WHITE RABBITS visit Madison June 30th. BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW fluttered past last month as THE HORSE’S HA are at the gates. From touring to recording, animal bands from THE EELS to ELECTRIC OWLS roam free all summer, exhibiting civilized sophistication, splicing primal oomph to meditative depth.
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Album title: Veckatimest
Record Label: Warp Records
Named after an isolated island off Massachusetts, “Veckatimest,” overflows in ethereal wanderings, pondering solitary flights of folk-pop benevolence in dynamic synergy, stirring tender lyrics into explosive musical complications that culminate in lavish stews of ghostly alchemy. Both sunny and spooky, Brooklyn’s GB inflicts rural Americana with disarming carnival overtones, metaphysical melancholy and reverberating group vocals.
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Bats - The Guilty Office
Album title: The Guilty Office
Record Label: Hidden Agenda
A peaceful student riot organized into reasonable demonstrations, the almost indifferently literate Bats’ unique bounce and jangle sparks and tranquilizes, urges, encourages and informs. A cool, muted tapestry of unassuming anxieties; “Guilty,” processes overloaded guitars, sentimental missives and sharp drums into mesmerizing compositions of shimmering indie innocence swung around frenzied, art-punk thunder.
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Tortoise - Beacons of Ancestorship
Album title: Beacons of Ancestorship
Record Label: Thrill Jockey Records
Western Gothic turns post-nuclear sprockets turns jazzy Arabic space-jam logic - Tortoise’s cataclysmic twists and poly-rock fits knot plots; suiting their moods, altering formulas and testing limits. Slow and steady erupts into transcendental terrors and splonky rebuttals as “Beacon,” unravels out-of-this world vibes into heady harmonics pierced through angular chords and industrial noir.
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Horse's Ha - Of The Cathmawr Yards
Album title: Of The Cathmawr Yards
Record Label: Hidden Agenda
Sheathed in courtly attire, Chicago’s THH moves through progressively spiraling circles, encompassing chamber-jazz maneuvers, baroque pirouettes and sweeping, gypsy incantations. Snappy pastorals trot pass calculated counterpoint spiced in enchanted parables. Cooing Canterbury blues fleshed out in Persian accents, “Yard,” blends together familiar sounds in friendly settings, quietly re-inventing nobler histories
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The Horse's Ha online:
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us
Album title: Eating Us
Record Label: Graveface Records
Swamped in strings then freed via surreal peals of laughing electronics, the unearthly, “Eating,” walks on cat’s paws between child-like whimsy and cybernetic wonder A supernaturally heightened state of bliss, BMSR’s cozy bass meanders over analogue realities, lyrics of paradoxical androgyny slithering among acoustic guitars and live percussion for eerily passive interactions.
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White Rabbits - It’s Frightening
Album title: It’s Frightening
Record Label: TBD Records
Creepy crawly, bowery beats, taunt lo-fi rumblings, the Rabbits’ agitated bop tosses oddball odes to desperate beauty. Rim-shot riff-raff raising the roof through jungle fever, sinister hooks and tightly wound waltzes; “Frightening,” packs dizzy descents into murky minds. Rambunctiously rattling, SPOON’s Britt Daniel’s atmospheric production rings in authentic sounds touched by subtle studio smarts.
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Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Album title: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Record Label: Glassnotes Records
France’s come hither swingers serve a funky bucket of dreamy, blue-eyed, hot club love. Relentless synth-pop rhythms covered in electric frosting form heartthrob yelps around tense, ready-to-pop photo-ops. Reassembling a stream-lined new wave mystery trip; the prowling, pouncing, “Wolfgang,” mounts photo-shopped disco attacks in infectious retro-eighties exaltations, igniting the party with casually romantic sincerity.
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From JUSTINE ADAMS and JULDEH CAMARA’s trance-inducing psychedelic-electric blues-goosed acoustic Afrobeats, “Tell No Lies,” to punk choirboy JARVIS COCKER’s bitingly spiteful, “Further Complications,” humans still outmaneuver animals this summer. From JIM FAIRCHILD’s latest incarnation, ALL SMILES’ narcotic pop-rock euphoria, “Oh For the Getting and Not Letting Go.” to kaleidoscopic-moppets MEWITHOUTYOU’s rollicking multi-genre wig-out, “it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright,” bipeds bypass nature’s intended definitions.